Has Chiwetel Ejiofor Really Been Cast In Star Wars Episode VII? Or Does The Evidence Point Elsewhere?

chiwetel ejioforBack when the first teaser trailer for Doug Dorst and JJ Abrams‘ book S was revealed, a lot of the internet jumped to the conclusion that it was for some kind of TV project. Not unreasonable. I was thinking it might be a video game.

But a handful of folk speculated that it might, somehow, be something to do with Star Wars. As they would. Not too many people went chasing up that blind alley, but there was definitely a few loud ones.

A quick bit of sniffing around and then a modicum of common sense left me convinced it was a book, and lo and behold, that turned out to be so.

And now that very book is getting released, it’s resulted – indirectly – in another tiny scrap of Abrams-related info bobbing to the surface, and again, some folk are assuming it’s all Star Wars business.

And maybe it is.

In yesterday’s The Times Magazine, there’s a story by Rhys Blakely recounting his trip to the Bad Robot offices to interview Abrams about S. Very early in the story, he drops this big tease:

The British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, front-runner in this year’s Oscar race, is sitting in the lobby of J. J. Abrams’ office. If you’re a sci-fi fan, this might be very big news indeed.

Why? Because Abrams’ has been casting Star Wars of late. It’s the number one project on his slate.

The intermittently well-sourced and thoroughly chipper Jedi News have gone all out and claimed that Chiwetel Ejiofor has indeed won a role in Episode VII.

Having said that, their link to The Times, and their mistaken belief that the story comes from Sunday’s edition and not Saturday’s, might make the more cynical observer think they’re just taking a punt on the basis of the above excerpt and a sense of likeliness. I don’t know. Seems like a reasonable punt in any case.

I’ve read the full article. It isn’t available online, unless you buy your way through the paywall. There is a bit more about Ejiofor when the journalist comes out and asks Abrams if he’s going to be in Star Wars. Flat out.

He looks at me, dead-eyed. “I can’t discuss casting,” he says. “But he’s a very talented gentleman.”

And that’s the end of that.

Now, it does seem like a reasonable punt because this isn’t the first time Ejiofor’s name has come up in relation to the film.

Of course, there’s always a possibility that the earlier rumours were associated with him meeting with Abrams, and that these meetings with Abrams actually have nothing to do with Star Wars. That’s entirely possible. Of course it is. It might be something to do with any of the Bad Robot projects we know, or don’t already know, about.

If I were a betting man, however, I’d slide a nice pile of shiny bitcoins onto Ejiofor right now. I think it’s just likely enough that these dots will connect and he’ll be going to that galaxy far, far away.

Now, I’ve lost count on how long we’ll have to wait but we’re certainly getting close to some kind of new video from the Star Wars official YouTube channel that will reveal, finally, that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford will all appear in Episode VII. That much I know. As part of their build up, the channel last night published this quick interview clip with George Lucas bigging up Harrison Ford.

So… will they go further? Will any new cast members be announced? Benedict Cumberbatch and/or Chiwetel Ejiofor and/or Saoirse Ronan or whoever else? That’d certainly be exciting, wouldn’t it? There might not have been any fewer official announcements about this film than other, similarly sized pictures – Age of Ultron, for example, or Jurassic World – but there’s certainly a lot fans getting impatient.


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